Sunday, September 19, 2010

Show # 48 "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at Renton Civic Theatre

It seems as though everyone is doing "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" this season. I hear the rights for this musical were just recently made available for non-Equity theatres, so many groups have jumped on board to present "The Bee."

I can see why. This is a terrific show to put on.

First of all, it's a one-set show, using only a set of risers, a table and chairs for the adult characters to sit at, a set of microphones and a banner proclaiming the Spelling Bee competition. Easy.

The clothes are variations of modern-day dress, so it doesn't appear to break the bank in the costume department. Simple.

The cast is not too large, with 6 "children" and 3 adult characters. Piece of cake.

And, best of all, the script is funny, the characters are engaging and amusing and the music is mostly fun (albeit forgettable) and helpful in giving us each character's back storyline. Perfect.

The audience roared with laughter, and the actors reveled in the approval and enjoyment they were giving the crowd...and themselves. A win-win situation.

This made for a great evening out, watching my friend George perform as William Barfee (with his "Magic Foot") and catching up a bit with a couple of old theatre friends, one who runs the theatre and the other who took the reins as stage manager for the show.

Now I can see what all the "buzz" was about with this show, why every theatre in town (or so it seems) is producing it this season. I have a feeling it won't be the last time I see "The Bee." This is one of those shows that will live for a long time.

I can almost guarantee you, it will come soon to a theatre near you.

So, brush up on your spelling (spell check does NOT count), because you never know when it will be your turn to be a star.

Photo courtesy of Renton Civic Theatre and photographer Tanya Zambrowsky

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